BOSTON – The nightcap to Monday’s opening night festivities of the Frozen Fenway series featured two of the most respected boys’ hockey programs in their respective states.
In the end, it was a familiar name who lifted Rhode Island powerhouse Mount St. Charles over Springfield Cathedral, 4-2, at Fenway Park.
Junior forward Brian Belisle, with his father and grandfather watching from the bench, tallied a hat trick to lift the Mounties to victory.
“My father played outdoors when he first started,” Mounties coach Dave Belisle said of his father, head coach Bill Belisle. “Even his high school team, when he played for Mount St. Charles, they played outdoors. To be able to come to this venue and not only share it with my father, but with my son and for my son to do so well tonight, this was a wonderful evening.”
Brian scored Mount’s first two goals within a minute span in the first period, giving his team a 2-0 lead. Cathedral (3-3-1) responded with two second-period goals, tying the game.
But Mount (5-2-1) reclaimed the lead before the period was out with Callan Morisseau netting what would be the game-winner with 1:01 remaining in the second.
Belisle netted the insurance marker for the hat trick midway through the third.
“It’s once-in-a-lifetime,” the youngest Belisle said, reflecting on his performance. “Looking around here, it’s just unbelievable.”
MOUNTIES BACK ON TRACK
Although No. 15 Cathedral played at Rhode Island powerhouse Mount’s tournament during vacation week, the teams met for the first time this season at Fenway. The Mounties won that tournament, gaining momentum after being upset in the season’s opening week by Rhody rival La Salle Academy.
With a couple of wins under their belt, the Mounties are starting to play with confidence.
“The first couple of games of the year, we struggled to find our identity,” captain Brian Campbell said. “We came back and won our [Mount St. Charles holiday] tournament and, today, we really picked up our game at the end there.”
The team’s newfound chemisty was evident in their first line, particularly with Campbell and Belisle. Campbell set up Belisle’s first two tallies with tremendous passes, one coming from the left side faceoff dot and the other on the back hand from behind the net back into the slot.
CATHEDRAL OVERCOMING ADVERSITY
To say it’s been a trying year at Springfield Cathedral would be an understatement. The school’s campus was ravaged by June’s tornado, forcing classes to be held at a middle school in Wilbraham.
After enduring so much, Monday’s game was a welcome distraction and a positive spin to the New Year.
“It was so nice of Red Sox and the Fenway group to invite us out here,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. “With all the school’s been through, we needed something good to happen to us and this event was just outstanding. We couldn’t be more appreciative of happening the opportunity to play out here.”
Likewise, the determined Panthers showed their resiliency in the second period when Thomas Quinlan and Alex Vincellette scored to knot the score, 2-2.
While the Panthers weren’t able to build momentum into a lead, they showed they could battle back against high competition. It bodes well for team that participated in a Super 8 play-in game last season and returns a young, but veteran core this season.